Archives for August 2014

Travel Products We Love!

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We are starting a new series all about some of the travel products that we have loved and that have made travel with our kids, well, bearable. We know it isn’t easy to travel anywhere with kids in tow, and we do it quite often with four kids. It is a constant challenge!

Our first travel product is actually something we use all the time! We absolutely LOVE these Easy Lunchboxes! We use them on outings to the playground, hiking, trips to the pool, vacation, long drives, snacks after school…they are really the best!

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We found them on Amazon and they are the actually the #1 best selling lunchboxes on Amazon. We love the compartments – we like to always have some fruit or veggies on the side with some crackers. It keeps everything separate. And the colored lids are great as we always know who gets what color. They aren’t leakproof but we have never had any problems. They sit in kids laps very easily in the car which is great on rode trips. And since they stack inside themselves, you can pack them for a trip to Disney World and use them for lunch in the parks.

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This is my stack of after-school snacks for the kids!

This is my stack of after-school snacks for the kids!

You can purchase them through the EasyLunchboxes website or through Amazon where you can free shipping though their store.

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Because we love them and we know you will too, Easy Lunchboxes is giving away a set of four containers and a lunch box! Enter the giveaway below to win! The giveaway begins today and ends on Friday at midnight. US Residents only for this one. Winners will be notified within 48 hours of the giveaway ending and will have 48 hours to reply. Good luck!

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Travels!

For more travel products we love:

Travel Product: Mommy Hook & Walk-Along Stroller Handle
Travel Product: The Shrunks
Travel Product: The PiggyBack Rider

runDisney 101: Part 2

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We hope you enjoyed Part 1 of our runDisney 101 series where we went over all the available races throughout the year as well as ideas for training. Now we will tackle some questions and answers! While they have a FAQ page at runDisney.com with some great information, here are some other frequently asked questions that you won’t see on the site, but you may want to know the answer before you sign up for a race.

FAQ’s

Why do races sell out so quickly?

In the last two years, runDisney has grown in popularity greatly. While that affects races selling out, one of the big reasons that races sell out is that Disney began offering pre-registrations. At an expo for a race, they will sometimes offer those participants advanced registration on an upcoming race, before it opens to the public. Also, Annual Passholders and DVC Members are offered an early enrollment window days before everyone else. Sometimes Disney Visa members are given early registration as well. So by the time a race opens for registration, it could be already half full. And many racers come back again and again because it is so much fun!

Can I get a discount on my registration or any other discounts?

There are discounts on registration for Annual Passholders and DVC Members. Sometimes, Disney Visa offers a discount for races as well. If you register early, there is a lower price similar to tier-pricing. Most races sell out so quickly, I’m not sure if the later date prices are used. Once you register with runDisney, you can get a discounted rate on Disney World and Disneyland resort hotel rooms. There is a special reservation line to call to book these special rates and availability. We recommend checking all options as sometimes there are better deals than through RunDisney.

Where should I stay during the race weekend?

Every race weekend is different, so where you stay will depend on the race. Ideally, it is great to stay close to the start or finish of the race. For a Walt Disney World run, we highly recommend staying on property. Disney provides transportation from host resorts for each race. For some of the smaller races, this is limited to only a few hotels, whereas for the larger race weekends it will sometimes include all WDW Resort hotels. It is much easier to get to the races if you are close by. If you don’t stay on property and will drive to the start line, plan in advance for parking and know where that parking will be. It might not be as close as you would like. At Disneyland, there are many off-property options that are close to the park. Keep in mind that races start very early in the morning and it may be tough to get to the start at early hours. Keep parking costs in mind – most parking lots are far from the resorts as well. Staying at one of the three Disneyland resorts might make the day easier.

How can I cheer my spouse/friend on for their race?

There are lots of places to cheer on your favorite runDisney runner! There are many spots outside the parks you can stand and cheer on the runners, and Disney encourages cheerers! If you have passes for the parks, there are great spots to cheer the runners on as well. The largest crowds are near the finish of course. If it is a long race, you can sign up on runDisney to get email notifications for your family member/friend so that you have an idea where they are along the course and you can estimate when they will be running by. It is a great idea to have a large sign for them to see you with as it is hard for runners to find cheerers along the way.

Should we bring our kids for the weekend?

This depends on your family and your children’s age. The Kids Races are lots of fun and the Family Runs are great for older kids. If you and your spouse are running a race together but you still want the kids to come for the weekend, you can consider using Disney’s in-room babysitting during your race. This is commonly done with racers and their kids. It is an additional cost. Keep in mind that most races start very early in the morning, so a babysitter would mostly be watching sleeping kids.

Can my kids run a race?

The Family Fun Run 5K races as well as the Kids Races are great for kids to run. There are age requirements for longer distances. The WDW Marathon Weekend also offers Mickey’s Mile for older kids to run.

I’ve heard the start of the race is really early and cold. How do I stay warm before the start?

Some races start as early at 5:00 am, but racers are asked to arrive between 3-4 am. At that time of the morning, it can be chilly. You can bring a sweatshirt and check it with your bag before heading to corrals. For longer races, Disney offers bag checks for property you will need after the race. Any items you take off during the race and leave on the course, will be donated so consider it gone. An easier thing for the cold morning is to bring a silver mylar blanket that is inexpensive. You can wrap yourself in the blanket and dispose of them at the corrals before starting to run. Some people bring towels from the hotel or a blanket they don’t mind leaving behind.

Do I have to run a previous race before I can run a runDisney race?

No. It is helpful to have run a race before a runDisney event, but it isn’t required. For longer distances, you can submit a previous race time (official timing is required) to be placed in an appropriate corral for the start. But this isn’t required.

What happens at the Expo? When should I go?

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Runners must visit the expo to pick up their running bibs, t-shirts and other goodies from Disney. The expo is where runDisney merchandise is sold – you won’t find it in the parks. There are also awesome vendors and exhibits for participants. The expo is lots of fun! We advise visiting the expo the first day it opens and try to visit in the morning. It gets very busy in the afternoon. By the last day of the expo, most merchandise is wiped out. The expo is where you will get all your run day information/bibs and make any necessary changes. This is also where early registration can take place for the next runDisney event.

Do I need to wear a costume for a run?

About half the runners at any given race will have some sort of costume. But the other half doesn’t. It is up to you if you want to run in a costume. The smartest costumes are the ones that use athletic gear as their costume, like running pants and skirts. Some races can get hot by the finish, so you want something that is light and doesn’t irritate or itch. See our next section below on costume ideas!

What transportation is available to and from the race start and finish?

Disney provides buses as transportation to and from the race start and finish line from select locations. If you are staying off-property for either a Walt Disney World or Disneyland race, you are responsible for your own transportation.

What will Disney have at the race for participants?

Disney will provide plenty of water and Powerade during the race. For 1/2 and full marathons, they offer energy gels during the race. They also have first aid and medical help if needed. After the races, they will provide a snack and water. If the temperatures are cool, they will provide mylar blankets. Disney takes good care of all their participants. Don’t forget about medals! Each participant receives a medal that is unique to that race and that year. Many runners wear their medals to the parks for the entire weekend. Make sure to get lots of pictures with your medal when you visit the parks!

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What should I bring to the race?

Disney will give you a bag for checking at the race, if you have items you will want after the race. You should bring to the race your bib, a portable camera (an iPhone is great for this), energy gels (if needed), additional clothing for post-race, towel for the bus ride, snacks for after the race, and anything else you think you will need. We run with headphones and music, but Disney wants you to not run with music so you can hear their announcements. We ran with our music turned down very low.

Are there bathrooms available during the race?

Disney provides lots and lots of port-a-pottys throughout the races. You will also be running through parks so there will be some park bathrooms open as well.

Are there photographers during the race? Do I need a photopass card?

There are tons of photographers throughout the race and the finish. They will get many photos of you throughout the race and match it up from your bib number. The photo company will offer for you to purchase the photos of you during the race. Race participants are contacted post-race via email. Any photos taken during the race with characters need to be taken with a personal camera although the race photographers will be at some character locations. Cast members are at most of the character photo spots that will take photos with your camera as well. There aren’t typically any PhotoPass photographers on the race.

Are there character greets during the race?

Each race is different, but special character greets are available along the course of the race. Disney usually has unique and special greets for racers. You are welcome to stop during the race to take pictures, but expect lines at each character.

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What happens if I can’t finish the race?

Disney sets a time limit for each of its races. If you fall behind the time, they will bring you to the finish line. Disney is very generous with the time allotment for races, but don’t feel bad if you get injured or can’t finish.

To Costume or Not To Costume

As we mentioned before, about half the racers will be wearing costumes and half will wear regular running gear. Costumes are completely a preference for the runners and are not required. They can be lots of fun though! We have collected some of our favorite ideas for making your own costume as well as some ideas if you would like to just buy a costume to run in. Keep in mind always that you will be running in the clothes, so they should be comfortable and preferably use athletic materials that breathe and stretch. AND keep in mind they will get sweaty and messy.

Homemade Ideas

If you would like to make your own costume, here are some ideas and inspiration that we like as well as links to how they were made.

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This girl has TONS of costume ideas! myrunningcostumes.com

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runkarlarun.com has TONS of runDisney costume ideas!

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Purchasing Costumes

There are actually lots of options for buying a running costume and most are Disney inspired! Here are some online stores we like:

Sparkle Athletics – lots of options for outfits as well as assesories; great sparkle skirts!

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iGlowRunning – lots of Disney costumes as well as super heroes

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Running Couture on Etsy – they have some of the cutest running skirts around for a great price! Love this Elsa-inspired run skirt

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There are lots of costumes to buy on Etsy but these are some of our favorite spots that we think have costumes with both good function and design.


We hope this series on runDisney has been helpful if you are thinking of running a race or are getting ready to run your first. And if you liked it, please share it! We will have lots to share when we run the WDW Marathon in January! Go runDisney!

 

runDisney 101: Part 1

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runDisney has become hugely popular over the last few years. In fact, Disney has been adding more and more new events as well as adding more challenges to the current weekends. If you are interested in giving a race a try, we have put together some basic information about runDisney events as well as training ideas. The second part of our series will include some frequently asked questions and answers as well as costume and clothing ideas.

If you aren’t familiar with runDisney (and many people aren’t), we will give you the basic information. runDisney is a division of the Walt Disney Company that organizes running races at the major parks throughout the year. It all started with just one event, the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, and it has turned into nine events between Disney World and Disneyland throughout the course of a year. Each event is different and offers different running options. Almost every race has KidsRaces as well as a Family Fun Run. Disney wants the whole family involved! To get an idea of the size of some of the races, the Walt Disney World Marathon usually has about 20,000 runners. In comparison, the Boston Marathon has around 36,000 racers. Races take place in the parks and the surrounding areas. Here is a rundown of the races offered throughout the year. Keep in mind that most of the races starting at the beginning of 2015 are already full for registration (see our FAQ in Part 2 to find out why races sell out so fast!)

runDisney Races

**Kids races include a Diaper Dash, 100m dash, 200m dash, 400m dash

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend
Dates: January 7-11, 2015
Host: Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Dopey
Races Offered:

  • Marathon (26.2 mile run through all four parks including surrounding streets)
  • 1/2 Marathon (13.1 mile run through Epcot, Magic Kingdom, and surrounding streets)
  • Goofy Race & a Half Challenge (running both the 1/2 marathon and the full marathon)
  • 10K (run through Epcot)
  • Family Fun Run 5K (run through Epcot)
  • Dopey Challenge (running all four races)
  • Kids Races
  • Castaway Cay Challenge (new this year – adds a 4-night Bahamian cruise after your races)

The WDW Marathon weekend hosts the most races and challenges. Kids Races are held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and include a Mickey Mile for older kids.

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NEW Star Wars 1/2 Marathon Weekend at Disneyland
Dates: January 15-18, 2015
Races Offered:

  • 1/2 Marathon (13.1 mile run through California Adventure, Disneyland and surrounding streets)
  • Rebel Challenge (running both the 1/2 marathon and the 10K)
  • 10K (run through Disneyland, Downtown Disney and California Adventure)
  • Star Wars 5K (run through California Adventure and Disneyland)
  • Kids Races (held at California Adventure)

This is the newest addition to the runDisney family. Most running is between Disneyland and California Adventure. This race will offer oodles of Star Wars characters and paraphernalia.

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Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World
Dates: February 19-22, 2015
Host: Cinderella & other princesses
Races offered:

  • 1/2 Marathon (13.1 mile run through Epcot, Magic Kingdom and surrounding streets)
  • Enchanted 10K (run through Epcot)
  • Royal Family 5K (run through Epcot)
  • Glass Slipper Challenge (running both the 1/2 marathon and the 10K)
  • Kids Races

This race weekend offers women’s themed races. Typically, registration is limited to women for these races although men can run if they are running with a woman.

Expedition Everest Challenge at Walt Disney World
Dates: May, 2015 (Dates have not been released for 2015)
Races offered:

  • 5K through Animal Kingdom which includes obstacle course and a scavenger hunt
  • Family Edition race with kids ages 4 and up
  • Kids Races (running and obstacle course)

This race weekend is unique with the obstacle and scavenger hunt. You can also sign up as a two-person Trek Team for the race. This is the only race held at Animal Kingdom although the Marathon runs through this park as well.

Tinkerbell 1/2 Marathon Weekend at Disneyland
Dates: May 7-10, 2015
Host: Tinkerbell and Peter Pan
Races offered:

  • 1/2 Marathon (13.1 mile run through Disneyland and surrounding areas)
  • Tinkerbell 10K (runs through the Disneyland resort)
  • NEW Pixie Dust Challenge (Run both the 1/2 marathon and the 10K)
  • Neverland Family Fun Run 5K (runs through the Disneyland resort)
  • Kids Races

The Pixie Dust Challenge was recently announced and 2015 will be the inaugural year. This race weekend offers women’s themed races. Typically, registration is limited to women for these events but men can run if they are running with a woman. They also offer two-person team registration.

Disneyland 1/2 Marathon Weekend
Dates: August, 2015 (Dates have not been released for 2015)
Host: Mickey & friends
Races offered:

  • 1/2 Marathon (13.1 mile run through California Adventure, Disneyland and surrounding areas)
  • Disneyland 10K (run from Anaheim Convention Center into California Adventure and Disneyland)
  • Dumbo Double Dare (run both the 1/2 marathon and the 10K)
  • Family Fun Run 5K (run through Downtown Disney and the Disneyland Resort)
  • Kids Races (held in California Adventure)

This is Disneyland’s big runDisney weekend with their signature 1/2 Marathon and the new Dumbo Double Dare which was introduced in 2014 as well as the Disneyland 10K.

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Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend at Walt Disney World
Dates: October, 2015 (Dates have not been released for 2015)
Host: Disney villains
Races offered:

  • 10-mile run through Hollywood Studios at night
  • Happy Haunted 5K Trail Run (run at the ESPN Wide World of Sports during the daytime)
  • Kids Races

This is a nighttime race through Hollywood Studios! And it is the only 10-mile run. The theme is more creepy but fun with unique characters and greets.

Disney Wine & Dine 1/2 Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World
Dates: November, 2015 (Dates have not been released for 2015)
Host: Mickey & Friends
Races offered:

  • 1/2 Marathon (13.1 mile run through three Disney parks and surrounding areas)
  • Mickey’s Jingle Jangle 5K (run through Animal Kingdom)
  • Kids Races

This is the only 1/2 marathon run at night! And it runs through THREE parks: Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Epcot. The race begins at ESPN Wide World of Sports. The 5k is run during the daytime. This run corresponds with the Walt Disney World Food & Wine Festival.

NEW Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland
Dates: November – 2014 was the first year so dates are subject to change for 2015
Host: Avengers Characters and Mickey & Friends
Races offered:

  • 1/2 Marathon (13.1 mile run through the Disneyland Resort including California Adventure, Disneyland and the surrounding resorts)
  • Super Heroes 5K (run through the DIsneyland Resort)
  • Kids Races

This is another new race that begins this year at Disneyland. The race sold out very fast online and a big draw will be the Avengers characters that will be out to greet all the runners this year.

Those are all the current race offerings from runDisney. Most race registrations open about 6-8 months before the race event. The runDisney website has lots of great information for each race including course maps, training info, and weekend details.

Training for a runDisney Race

If this is your first race or your tenth, having a training plan is a must! There are plenty of training plans on the web for free to help you train for whatever length of run you will be doing. We have always had success with the runDisney training plans from Jeff Galloway. Disney actually has training plans for free for every race they offer. You can find them on the runDisney website on the training page.

Keep in mind a few things when you are training:

  • Depending on where in the country you are training, if you are traveling to California or Florida, they weather may be different than what you are used to so plan ahead.
  • Don’t wait to try something new on race day – practice everything well before the big race so that there aren’t snaffoos or surprises during the race. This includes gels, water and gear.
  • Don’t push yourself too hard because an injured runner is no good at all.
  • Follow a plan and don’t skip training runs – every time you skip a run, you lose momentum.
  • Warm ups and cool downs are very important! Don’t forget adequate stretching after a run will help prevent injury. The same is true for a warm up. We like to walk a bit before we run just to warm up the muscles.

Head over to Part 2 where we answer all those burning questions that you might have as well as look at fun ideas for costumes during the race!

Disney News and Updates

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After a nice summer break here at Preschoolears, we are back to work and putting together all the Disney news for 2014 including a new section we are calling “Disney Rumors” to include rumors about parks and movies and such!

Disney World

AmericanIdol

Hollywood Studios had a fabulous Frozen summer and extended the Frozen Summer celebration through the end of August. Disney recently announced that The American Idol Experience will be closing permanantly at the end of August. Frozen Sing-A-Long Celebration will probably be moving into the theater to take it’s place.

Capt. Cook’s at the Polynesian Resort is finally reopened! It underwent renovations and also has a brand new menu! The dining area has been redesigned in a fun Polynesian theme and the touch-screen ordering kiosks are gone. New menu items include Chicken & Waffles, Udon Noodle Bowls, Lobster Roll, Coconut Curry Meatballs, and Polynesian Salad. The menu has many more options including sandwiches, flatbreads and salads. They also serve breakfast including the famous Tonga Toast. Sad to say but the Dole Whip station has been removed and for the time being, guests will have to get their Dole Whips at Aloha Isle at the Magic Kingdom. Disney has said it plans to open a new location at the Polynesian that will serve Dole Whips but no word yet on when it will open.

Memory Maker is now adding video to your visit! If you pre-purchase your Memory Maker and link it with your My Disney Experience, they will add video from your Tower of Terror experience! If you have MagicBands and Memory Maker, you can have an edited video of your thrilling ride within 24 hours. Note: You must have the Magic Band AND Memory Maker for this to be added to your My Disney Experience.

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Elsa & Anna Boutique is set to open in the Downtown Disney area in mid-September. Studio 365 will be closing as of August 25th and undergoing a transformation into the new boutique!

Pirates League is returning to Disneyland during Halloween time this year. Pirates League is where “pirates” dressup kids like pirates and pirate princesses including makeup, sash and more. It is a seasonal offering and reservations are recommended.

Disneyland Trip Giveaway: The 1990’s are calling and they want your Disneyland photos! With Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary next year, Disney is doing a Disneyland trip giveaway for those that enter by sharing their favorite 1990’s photo on Instagram or Twitter (any decade photo can be entered for the contest but they will have decade inspirations for you to choose from). Make sure you use the #Disneyland60Contest AND include the decade the photo was from.

Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion is celebrating its 45th anniversary! The park and online Disney Store will feature some special Haunted Mansion merchandise to commemorate the occasion.

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Club 33 has been redesigned and opened for select guests. Club 33 is a private dining club at Disneyland, located behind a secret entrance in New Orleans Square. Only paid members are allowed to enter and dine inside.

Disneyland Diamond Celebration will begin in 2015 as Disneyland turns 60!

Both Disney Parks

New Character Greets: Big Hero 6, the newest Walt Disney Studios animated film being released this November, will have character greets at both parks in the fall. Guests will be able to meet Hiro and Baymax at Disneyland and Disney World. Here is a trailer for the new film (videos accessible on website only):

Disney Movies

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Guardians of the Galaxy – This was a huge summer hit for Disney! Disney has added a dance party at the Villains Unleashed event at Hollywood Studios for the Guardians of the Galaxy. Expect to see more of these characters and merchandise, and possible a second film.

Bears by DisneyNature was released on August 12th on Blu-ray and DVD.

Future DVD releases this year are:

  • Toy Story of Terror on August 19
  • Captain America: A Winter Soldier on September 9
  • Sleeping Beauty on October 7
  • Million Dollar Arm on October 7
  • Maleficent on November 4
  • Frozen Sing-A-Long DVD on November 18

Other Disney News

Macy’s and RadioDisney has launched a number of nationwide events for kids to check out the latest Back To School trends and clothing. Check out the Macy’s Blog to find a date and location near you this fall!

Disney announced it will be selling all its Radio Disney stations except one (in L.A.) and they will be moving to digital distribution.

Amazon versus Disney: Amazon and Disney are in dispute over sales, so as of right now, Amazon has halted all pre-orders of upcoming Disney titles for DVDs and BluRay. It may be difficult to find other Disney titles at the online retailer until this dispute is settled.

Disney Rumors

Star Wars Land – Disney is in the process of developing plans for Star Wars Land to be built at Hollywood Studios in the near future. Since they recently purchased the rights to Star Wars and LucasFilms, it is likely Star Wars will become a major attraction at Disney World in the future.

Disney Vacation Club may see several expansions as quite a few of the Disney World resorts. Disney may be renovating blocks of rooms at several resorts turning them into DVC villas to attract the DVC crowd. Resorts could include Wilderness Lodge, Animal Kingdom, and Boardwalk.

Illuminations at Epcot may be ending, making room for a new water and evening show. Rumors are that the creative mind behind World of Color at California Adventure will be creating a new nighttime spectacular at Epcot to replace Illuminations.


That is our summary of fun and new Disney news! Hope you have a magical day!

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